Timing belt vs. timing chain

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I have been told that honda uses a timing belt and that toyota uses (at least on the Camry) a timing chain, that can do even more significant damage to the engine if it breaks than the regular timing belt that honda uses. (This may not still be true, but supposedly is true of the used cars I'm looking at: '96-'97 Accords/Camry).
So, if the timing chain can do so much more damage, why do they have it? Is it so much better than just a belt? Is one really better than the other, or should I avoid one?
Also, if I use the fact that the timing belt/chain hasn't been replaced as leverage for bring down the price of a vehicle, how much should I bring it down? In other words, how much does it cost to replace (parts and labor)?

Thank you.

posted by  swensonator

The camry should have a timing belt, at least if it's the 4-cyl. Belts seem to wear a little quicker than chains, but that's to be expected...after all, they're only rubber. A typical timing belt job could cost between $300-$500 including water pump. Timing belts also help dampen valvetrain harmonics, where timing chains will transmit the harmonics.

posted by  Sick88Tbird

all toyotas excluding the land cruiser, and all models after 03 ,have timing belts

posted by  jnemeth

sorry i meant before 03

posted by  jnemeth

jnemeth, I know you're trying to help these people but you are digging up old posts. check the dates.. these people are usually long gone.

posted by  thefonz

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